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Eye on Annapolis

The Daily Record's Maryland state government blog

Madaleno announces for Md. governor, rolls out progressive agenda

Sen. Rich Madaleno Jr. (File)

Sen. Rich Madaleno Jr. (File)

Billing himself as the only Democrat who can defeat first-term Republican Gov. Larry Hogan, Sen. Richard S. Madaleno Jr. officially announced his candidacy.

With the announcement, made at the Universities at Shady Grove Monday, Madaleno became the sixth Democrat to join the Democratic primary fray.

“People know me as a policy expert, sometimes even referring to me as a wonk,” said Madaleno, who represents Montgomery County. “People know me as a pragmatic, responsible leader on budget issues. They know me as a crusader for civil rights and social justice and a proud husband and loving father. What they may not know is that I am running for governor and I am going to win.”

Madaleno billed himself as “the only Democrat who can take on and beat Larry Hogan next November.”

Madaleno is attempting to differentiate himself by running as a progressive in the Democratic primary — a strategy similar to that of Ben Jealous, the former NAACP president who was endorsed earlier this month by Democratic presidential candidate and U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders.

As part of his announcement, Madaleno highlighted three policies he said would support — universal pre-kindergarten, a statewide $15 per hour minimum wage and  “making the dream of a college degree without debt a reality.”

Madaleno, 52 and vice chair of the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee, has raised his profile over the last three legislative sessions, becoming one of Hogan’s most vocal critics.

That criticism continued Monday as Madaleno tied Hogan to Trump on a number of issues, including health care.

“Nearly 500,000 Marylanders will lose access to affordable health care because of this bill,” said Madaleno of Republican proposals to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare. “Several of our most fragile communities will be decimated by this bill as rural hospitals will be especially threatened. This effort is as immoral as it is mean-spirited and yet not a word from our governor is spoken in protest.”

While the House of Representatives has passed a bill, a proposal in the Senate remains stalled.

Hogan in June said publicly that he opposed the plans and called on federal lawmakers to “go back to the drawing board.”

Madaleno was first elected to the Senate in 2007 after serving one term in the House of Delegates. He was named vice chair of the Senate Budget and Taxation committee two years ago.

During his time in the legislature, Madaleno has championed legalizing same-sex marriage and raising the gas tax for transportation projects — an issue Hogan ran against in 2014. He was also a vocal supporter of the DREAM Act, which allows certain undocumented immigrants to qualify for in-state tuition rates at Maryland colleges, and of repealing the death penalty.

Prior to his election, Madaleno worked from 1989 to 1995 as a budget analyst for the Department of Legislative Services. Following that, he worked for almost eight years as a legislative analyst for Montgomery County government.

He holds a bachelor’s degree in history and Soviet studies and a master’s in public administration from Syracuse University.

Six other Democratic candidates have officially announced their intentions to run or have formally filed their candidacy, including Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker III; perennial candidate Ralph Jaffe; Jealous; Alec Ross, a technology policy expert and senior fellow at Johns Hopkins University, and Jim Shea, the former chairman of Venable LLC.

Baltimore County Executive Kevin B. Kamenetz is also expected to join the campaign later this year.

Rep. John Delaney was expected to make a decision on the race last month but now says he will make a decision by the end of July.

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